The Jewish Students’ Association annual Hanukkah party during lunch on Dec. 13 brought students from all over the school together to celebrate and share the meaning of Hanukkah.
Many students were attracted to participate in the party through the promise of music, food and most of all, an opportunity to participate in the annual dreidel competition.
Because the party was open to the whole school, students from other clubs, such as YoungLife, along with other students who were not members of JSA joined in celebration.
“I’m actually surprised at how many people are staying and being really involved,” JSA member Elena Stern said.
Destiny Strange, for example, said she has come to the party every year and the dreidel competition is always a highlight of her experience.
The loud music and the excitement of the competition created an environment where everyone felt included, regardless of whether they were Jewish. According to Elena, you don’t necessarily need to be Jewish to find meaning in the celebration of Hanukkah.
“It holds this ideal of light, which I think we really all need right now,” Elena said, “and I think that supporting a holiday like that is really important when we’re all struggling to find that in our world, in our politics, and in our own individual lives.”
Part of why JSA decides to host a Hanukkah party every year is to reach out to students who may not feel comfortable joining.
“I think some people have a misunderstanding that JSA is only for people that are Jewish. That’s what we’re trying to explain here by hosting all these other clubs and people,” Elena said. “It’s not just about being Jewish. It’s about having a respect for the religion.”